I have strong memories of the smell of oil paints when I visited an aunt’s home which remains with me even today,” she said. “It wasn’t until I reached high school and began sketching ‘Bluey and Curley’, the classic cartoon larrikin characters that I knew I had natural skills for drawing and a love for the creative art world. She undertook a teaching course studying to become an art teacher, only to find herself teaching science, biology and agriculture. She worked at many local schools around the state of NSW finally taking up a position in Broken Hill. Her life pathway changed dramatically whilst teaching in the Outback and after doing a plant operator course at a local college she was offered a position in mining, which took her to regions of the Pilbara in Western Australia. Sonya worked and lived in a camp-style mining environment in the last frontier of Australia – ‘iron ore country’. Here, she was amazed and inspired by the vastness and rich ochre colours of the landscape and the ever-changing sunrise and sunsets. “My work is infused and expressed with a continuance of these colours resulting in unique imagery that conveys intense yet intimate serene ambience to the viewer”, she said.
Working long hard hours and rosters left little time for Sonya to indulge in her first passion for art however, this was a means to an end at the time. After some years passed and a change in her career and family life Sonya was drawn more and more to the surrounds of her art studio as a form of therapy and solace. Having returned to her roots in the Hunter more recently Sonya has opened an art gallery and homewares store in Morpeth – The Artisian Emporium, which is operated by herself and her daughter Hayley Cooper. She stocks decorative unusual home pieces and many of her original artworks.